In round one, table sugar was the bad boy. Empty calories, with no nutritional benefits.
In round two, High Fructose Corn Syrup got heat, because of the perception that it is unnatural, and promotes obesity as well.
In round three, instead of both sugar and HFCS slowly disappearing from products, good ol’ sugar is back in many products that have long used HFCS, a cheaper sweetener derived from corn.
According to a recent New York Times article:
Sugar, the nutritional pariah that dentists and dietitians have long reviled, is enjoying a second act, dressed up as a natural, healthful ingredient.
From the tomato sauce on a Pizza Hut pie called “The Natural,” to the just-released soda Pepsi Natural, some of the biggest players in the American food business have started, in the last few months, replacing high-fructose corn syrup with old-fashioned sugar.
ConAgra uses only sugar or honey in its new Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees. Kraft Foods recently removed the corn sweetener from its salad dressings, and is working on its Lunchables line of portable meals and snacks.
What you need to know:
So which is better for you – Sugar or HFCS?
Calorically, they are the same. Nutritionally, they are also the same – no nutrients whatsoever.
Although a recent study found trace amounts of mercury in HFCS, they are smaller than what you get from going outside and breathing in exhaust fumes from cars and factory smokestacks.
What to do at the supermarket:
Look for sugar , HFCS, and other synonyms on food labels. You’d be surprised in how many places sweeteners have found a place. In many cases, there is more than one sweetener in the ingredient list. Shy away from products who list sweeteners as one of the first ingredients in the ingredient list. As Pat Crawford of the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley says – “Keep sugar for the desserts”.
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